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Re: [XP] What if legal balks at doing XP?

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  • David Moskowitz
    In the FWIW department.... I was part of a client defense team that went through this. The plaintiff (and their attorney -- I don t know who started the idea)
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 5, 2005
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      In the FWIW department....

      I was part of a client defense team that went through this. The
      plaintiff (and their attorney -- I don't know who started the idea)
      had the same erroneous concept.

      Bottom line, a source code control system that tracked changes and
      generations, combined with archived story documentation and audio
      recordings of several team meetings (recorded, not specifically for
      record but so that missing team members could get caught up), etc.,
      were more than sufficient audit trail.

      Preliminary hearing for injunctive relief, and...

      Bottom line, unless there is a specific contractual requirement that
      demands specific methods, follow standard best practice and there
      shouldn't be problems.

      This is one of these cases where one of the principles from DSDM is
      helpful -- "all changes during development are reversible." in DSDM,
      the purpose for this principle is to accommodate the possibility that
      a team could take the wrong path. When that happens, the application
      of this principle allows them to backtrack to unknown safe point.

      This same reversibility also provides traceability and appropriate
      history. In most cases, that is all that is really needed (except as
      noted above when there is a contractual requirement for something
      else).

      I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you're attorney,
      requires the approach advocated by this individual, you have two
      choices: follow the advice or get another attorney.

      David


      On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 09:22:42 -0000, swoyerse
      <lists@...-analytics.com> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hey folks,
      >
      > Was talking with an intellectual property attorney last week (he's
      > with a prominent firm in the Silicon Valley), and at some point, we
      > got on to the subject of programming. He advocated a fairly rigorous,
      > documentation-heavy approach to software development, mostly (he
      > argued) as a means to ensure that the provenance of all code and
      > software artifacts can be accounted for. He's an old-school
      > programmer-cum-attorney, and he said he cut his teeth doing coding for
      > government contracts, which (he noted) had arduous documentation
      > requirements. In his view, a highly disciplined, process-centered, and
      > exhaustively documented approach is the best way companies can
      > mitigate their risk as a result of copyright, trade secrets, or patent
      > infringement.
      >
      > When I brought up the use of agile methods, he expressed doubt, saying
      > that agile disciplines wouldn't pass legal or compliance muster in
      > many risk-averse companies. This struck me as possibly accurate – it's
      > likely that the most risk-averse of companies *are* the most control
      > culture-oriented, and therefore least likely to embrace agile, after
      > all – if wrongheaded. More to the point, based on conversations I've
      > had with Jeff Grigg and others, I'm convinced that there are issues
      > with the disciplined, process-centric, and documentation-heavy
      > approach advocated by this attorney, too. Jeff has pointed out that
      > there are a lot of problems associated with copious documentation –
      > starting first and foremost with the possibility that a chance comment
      > appended to a document or buried in an e-mail could come back to haunt
      > a company in the event of a lawsuit – and that even if you document to
      > cover all of your bases with respect to copyright infringement, you're
      > still wide open on the issue of patent infringement.
      >
      > So I'm wondering, is there typically a legal hurdle – even if it's
      > only education, or perhaps compromise (in the area of barely
      > sufficient documentation) – that a lot of successful agile
      > implementers must clear before XP and other methods can find a
      > purchase in their organizations? If so, what kinds of strategies, if
      > any, have folks employed to push agile over the top in this respect?
      >
      > Thanks very much for your time. Appreciate your thoughts.
      >
      > Best,
      >
      > Steve
      >
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